You lie, dying
Inch by inch.
While I am brightly, tightly alive
In my rainbow summer clothes,
Smelling of outdoors and real life.
Your fingers fumble, like Falstaff’s
With the soft, white hospital sheet.
Your lower lip trembles as you breathe softly in your deep, ever deeper, sleep.
And the gaping gulf between us continues to widen.
The ship you’re aboard is sliding slowly away from the quayside,
Leaving me on dry land, alone.
I kiss you.
I murmur “I love you”
I stroke your head, hands and arms.
I try to rouse you.
You slumber on, oblivious.
Never have I felt so close to you.
Never have I felt so far from you.
Once you could make me laugh
Or arch in ecstasy.
Now a massive hole yawns
Where communication once was.
I sit, queasy, uneasy
Or I chat cheerfully to other patients and staff
Because they have a future
And my professional manner is a useful mask.
And then back to your bedside
For a quiet, private tear.
Don’t linger, my love.
It’s time to go.
Your job here is done.
I’ll manage without you.
@Susan Elkin 04 August 2019